It isn’t easy to mount the Yukon’s own version of Lilith Fair.
“It was a lot, a lot, a lot of work,” says President Erica Heyligers of the latest Yukon Women in Music project.
“Yeah, a lot of work,” agrees her vice-president, Barbara Chamberlin.
And even though the CD, Tether Hooks & Velcro, has been pressed and placed on sale, there is still much work to be done.
There is a CD release concert to prepare for at the Yukon Arts Centre Friday, Nov. 21 and a tour that will take the 12 women singer/songwriters to Carmacks Nov. 26, Pelly Crossing Nov. 27, Mayo Nov. 28 and Dawson City on Nov. 29.
They have already visited Haines Junction and Burwash Landing.
“We talk to each other every day now,” says Heyligers. “It’s going to be great to be on stage to celebrate what we’ve done.”
Has anyone else compared this project to Lilith Fair?
“If we get compared to them, it would be great,” says Chamberlin of the all-women concert headed by Sarah McLachlan. It was an international sensation that proved that women performers can attract just as many fans as the male rockers.
On a smaller musical scene, Yukon women performers are already more successful than their male counterparts (in this writer’s opinion). But YWIM’s efforts are aimed at giving even more women a chance to have a professionally produced CD with their songs on it.
Indeed, of the 12 women on the Tether Hooks & Velcro, five of them are making their recorded debut.
They are Angel Hall, Asheya Hennessey, Kayla Dewney, Lara Lewis and Nicole Lewis.
The veterans are Annie Lou, Barbara Chamberlin, BJ MacLean, Kim Beggs, Nicole Edwards, Natalie Edelson and Peggy Hanifan.
That’s right: Heyligers’ own song isn’t on the CD as an Outside jury – chosen from across the country by Mark Smith, of MusicYukon, for an even longer arm’s length – chose 12 songs from the 30 submitted.
“I got cut,” says Heyligers with feigned sadness. “I still haven’t got over it.”
At least she got some feedback: “They said my song sounded too common … too familiar.”
Each submitted song was recorded at Bob Hamilton’s Old Crow Recording as YWIM gave each of the women 30 minutes of free studio time.
A woman producer was found — “Because we support women,” says Heyligers – who was willing to work with singers who had never been in a studio before.
Lynn Miles, of Ottawa, was chosen on the strength of a résumé that includes a Juno and other awards.
She was able to take the rock songs, the “poppy stuff” and bluegrass and make the CD cohesive, says Heyligers.
“It is pretty much the same musicians on each,” says Chamberlin.
“All local,” Heyligers chimes in.
“So the sound is cohesive,” Chamberlin finishes.
“And she [Miles] played harmony on a lot of them so they came out ‘Lynn Milesy’.”
To help with the many tasks of this CD production and touring, project managers were hired from within the group of singers.
Someone even needed to ensure the 12-hour studio sessions went smoothly and ensured everyone got fed.
A project manager was assigned to the Yukon Arts Centre CD Release Concert and one each for the three tours (the last one will be next year).
Christine Church was chosen to engineer the CD and it was sent to Keith Stein in Vancouver for mixing.
He would send up the mixes on the plane and another meeting will be held to go over them.
Heyligers, who is in charge of the YAC concert, says a band has been formed that includes Dave Haddock on bass; Lonnie Powell on drums; Jordy Walker, guitar; Keitha Clarke, violin; Andrea McColeman, piano and accordion; and Lynn Miles, backup vocals.
Each of the women will sing their song (or two) and Miles will perform two of her own. A number of them will back up others and a finale will have them all on stage for a final number.
“This is for the love of music,” says Chamberlin. “For passion, for women.
“When you have a dream and people put their time into it, it’s great.
“It’s good for the new people and good for the old … umm … more established people.”
Tickets for the Friday, Nov. 21 concert at YAC are available at Arts Underground and the Yukon Art Centre Box Office. The concert begins at 8 p.m.